As new “parents” of a RADish, my wife and I both wanted to learn everything we could about the problem, fearing that, at the age of twelve, we had very little time in which to have a positive impact.
At first, we went for the books that would help us to better understand reactive attachment disorder. This was especially important because our nephew was seeing a child psychologist who did not himself have a good understanding of the disorder. We found that those written by Dan Hughes were particularly helpful in that respect, and interestingly enough, when we were able to find an attachment therapist, we learned that she had trained under Dr. Hughes, a man who we were to see twice during a few years of attachment therapy.
Nancy Thomas provided us with the most valuable practical advice in actually having to parent a child with reactive attachment disorder. Her book, "When Love is not Enough," should be first on everyone's to-buy list.
Others that we found both helpful and informative include "High Risk," by Ken Magid and Carole A. McKelvey, "Holding Time," by Martha Welch. "The Things I Want Most," by Richard F. Miniter, was touching and also quite useful.
One by Beverly James, entitled, "Handbook for Treatment of Attachment Disorder in Children" was most helpful to me in putting together this site, but it is intended for clinicians, as the title implies. While there was much that I didn't understand, this book was useful in helping me to understand the disorder from the perspective of a therapist, rather than that of a parent.
I don't include her in my book section because her books do not seem to be available on Amazon.com, but if you ever come across anything by Deborah Hage, I strongly recommend buying it. Better yet, don't pass up any opportunity to sit in on one of her lectures. Having her and Nancy Thomas in the same room is truly precious!
These are just a few that we had read early on, and which stick in my mind as being especially useful to us in a trying time. Certainly, there are others that might be just as good, and I include some of those which were recommended to me in our book section.
Ronald S. Federici, Gregory Keck, and Terry Levy are widely praised by those who have read their books. Having met the first two at an ATTACh conference in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago, and sat in on some of their lectures, I don't doubt that their books are valuable resources.
I've also included a place in my resource directory for books that are particularly helpful to children who are suffering from reactive attachment disorder.
While children - even those with detachment disorder - are all individuals, and not alike in every way, we were faced with the challenge of taking in a twelve-year-old with undiagnosed reactive attachment disorder. He had the body and intelligence of a twelve-year-old, and the emotions of a two-year-old, but he thought of himself as an adult.
He could read well and it seemed that he could sometimes understand abstract concepts in a book that would be lost on him in real life. So we encourage him to read - by making books available even while pretending that it didn't matter to us one bit, as one often has to do with a RAD kid. When I had a book that I wanted him to read, I'd leave it on my desk, or in the kitchen, and make sure that he had access to it for a few minutes.
I would also buy him books that I thought he'd enjoy, and he'd read them too. The ones that I saw the need to be sneaky about were the ones that he might otherwise recognize as being therapeutic, or good for him.
There were also books that he would have been insulted by, had I told him that I wanted him to read them. He had little or no understanding of any emotion other than anger and, since that was always there, we couldn't know just what it meant to him. The problem was that the books that taught emotions were intended for children much younger than twelve.
So I left them lying around the house. He would pick them up, and he would read them. Books such as "The Velveteen Rabbit," "Fire Cat," and "Today I Feel Silly And Other Moods That Make My Day" fall into that category, although there are many others.